Free online HHSC behavioral health awareness training empowers public, tackles stigma

Stock photo courtesy of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission


Special to The Dallas Examiner


The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will launch a new behavioral health awareness eLearning series to empower families with more knowledge and understanding of behavioral health conditions that impact more than 3 million Texans each year.

“Understanding is powerful, and Texas HHSC saw a need for people who want to understand their own condition or a loved one’s condition to learn more about behavioral health and share what they learn with others,” said Sonja Gaines, HHS deputy executive commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services. “When people learn more about behavioral health, they can overcome challenges and the stigma associated with mental illness to seek treatment and take that first step toward creating a better life for themselves and others.”

HHSC contracted with UT Health Science Center at San Antonio to develop and create an eLearning series, which is free to the public at The series’ intended audience is not only those dealing directly with behavioral health conditions, but also their friends, family members, and advocates. There are 10 interactive learning modules and each module takes no more than 30 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous. The series empowers and prepares communities to better understand signs and symptoms of mental illness, decreases stigma and promotes emotional, psychological and social well-being for Texans.

“Many behavioral health conditions are common but still misunderstood. This eLearning series sheds light on these conditions,” said Dr. Natalie Maples, assistant professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “We hope that these modules help to give someone in need of direction a way forward, either as the recipient of help and support or as the supporter.”

Topics covered in the series include anxiety disorders, depression, substance use disorders, mood disorders, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, aging and behavioral health, psychosis and schizophrenia, serious emotional disturbances in children and suicide prevention.

The Mental Health Block administered by Texas HHSC funded the project. For more information, visit


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